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Decrease in SATU attendance welcomed but more consistent promotion of service is urged

There were 628 attendances at the six SATUs in the Republic of Ireland in 2014, a reduction of 49 cases nationally from 2013 (when 677 patients attended), according to the SATUs Annual Key Service Activity Report for 2014.

Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Dr Maeve Eogan welcomed the reduction in the 2014 figures, but said there could be a number of factors involved.

“What we always say when it reduces is that we hope that it is because of a reduction in sexual crime, but obviously the concern still is that there are people who either don’t want to report or are unaware of the services,” Dr Eogan told this newspaper.

The 2014 activity report also states that 452 (71.9 per cent) of the incidents occurred between the hours of 21.00- 08.59 and 585 (93.2 per cent) patients were women, while 43 (6.8 per cent) were men. The mean age of patients was 26.8, the youngest was 12, and the eldest was over 90 years.

“Of course when we see falling numbers we always hope that maybe that shows that numbers are reducing, because there is a lot of work going on now in terms of prevention and education and that sort of thing,” Dr Eogan told MI.

“So it would be lovely to think it is because sexual crime is falling, but obviously, as always, our concern is to get the message out that we have a service and to ensure that people attend it if they need it.”

The report also shows that 343 (54.6 per cent) patients had consumed more than four units of alcohol in the 12 hours prior to the sexual assault.

Some 468 (74.5 per cent) patients reported the incident to An Garda Síochána and over 80 per cent of these attended the SATU within 72 hours of the incident.

Separately, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre recently announced a 30 per cent rise in first-time callers to its helpline last year.

  1. catherine on July 5, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Reading these reports from real cases tells us exactly why victims are not coming foreward much.If you were a victim and read these accounts, would you come foreward???????????//
    “Sentencing is not the only problem. Take the case of Danny Foley, a bouncer from Listowel, who in 2009 was jailed for five years for sexually assaulting a 22 year-old woman. Before he was jailed, approximately 50 people in the courthouse lined up to embrace him and shake his hand – in front of his victim – before he was jailed. Foley later lost a bid to overturn the conviction.

    As a woman, this makes for depressing and discouraging reading. Where is the incentive for survivors to report, and sometimes be forced to relive their ordeal face-to-face with their attacker on the witness stand, when rapists and violent criminals, receive what appear to be minimal custodial sentences, sometimes none at all? When victim-blaming is rife, what does that say to a woman? What does the commercialisation of crimes say to potential rapists – giving them an option to pay a “token” of compensation in lieu of a spell in jail? That they can pay a price for their victim’s consent? The consistent theme of judges commenting on offenders’ previously “good characters” indicates that such assaults are viewed as a mere slip-up, an indiscretion, a minor mistake. Nowhere is there evidence to show that any of the members of the judiciary referenced above demonstrated an appreciation of the impact a sexual crime can have on a woman”.

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